Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Car Air Conditioner

Even if your vehicle is sweltering hot in the summertime, you may want to reconsider turning on your car air conditioner. Here's why.

Why you shouldn’t use your car air conditioner

There are few things more uncomfortable than a hot car on a humid day. As summer reaches full swing and temperatures rise, you’re going to want to start cranking up the car air conditioner more and more. But if you’re trying to save fuel and money, you may want to reconsider turning the car air conditioner on. After, check out these other 10 things you should never do to your car.

Do car air conditioners burn more gas?

There have been multiple debates on which method of vehicle cooling is more fuel-efficient: air conditioning or driving with the windows down. There’s no doubt they both cause more fuel to be burned. The question is, which burns more. Open windows increase drag while driving, and running the A/C burns fuel to run. Eager to prove conclusively which option had greater impact on overall miles-per-gallon (mpg), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and General Motors did a controlled study comparing the fuel efficiency of driving with the car air conditioner on to driving with the windows down.

Driving with your windows down

After comparing cars that drove at 31 mph, 50 mph, and 68 mph in 86ºF weather, they came to the conclusion that driving with the windows down is more fuel-efficient than running the A/C. The test also measured the fuel efficiency of closed windows and no A/C, which was significantly better on fuel than the other two. This is why car windows have those little black dots.

Extreme weather temperatures

So if you need to cool off during a hot summer drive, consider rolling the windows down. Even though some experts say A/C is the wiser option when it comes to your fuel economy, multiple tests have shown otherwise. That said, the difference doesn’t appear to be as extreme when conditions aren’t extremely hot.


Business Insider: “CHARTS: It’s More Efficient To Drive With Your Windows Open Than Air Conditioner On”

U.S. Department of Energy: “Fuel Economy in Hot Weather”

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman